Should UK medical students sit a national qualifying exam?
The academic achievements of graduating medical students need to be evaluated for job allocations, and this process has been under debate. Christopher Kelly argues that a new national exam would be a comparable benchmark. But Katherine Burke says that such an exam could have detrimental effects on the medical profession
- By: Christopher Kelly, Katherine Burke
YES Imagine if the best universities admitted only pupils who had been in the top 25% of ability in their particular school. This would pose a curious dilemma for parents—should they choose the best school with the highest academic standards but face the risk that their child may not be in the top quarter of ability, and so miss out on the best universities? Or should they send their children to the worst school possible where they have a better chance of being at the top of the class?
Clearly such university admissions policies would be nonsensical, but this is exactly what is happening in medical schools throughout the United Kingdom. Not only are standards set individually in each medical school, but the examinations are different and use different metrics to assess students.1 The result is that it is easier to achieve a top academic score in a medical school